After teaching for 19 years at Riverside, Ms. Debra Mackenzie-Pearce retired at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. She has formed many positive relationships with staff and students during her teaching career. Her contribution to the Science and Math Departments will be remembered for many years at Riverside. Even though she will no longer be teaching regularly, she will always be a part of the school’s community.

Before Riverside, Mackenzie-Pearce taught at many schools in Edmonton, such as Eastglen High School, Queen Elizabeth High School, and Strathcona High School. She then taught at M.E. LaZerte High School for 16 years. She was inspired to become a teacher, because she enjoyed helping students learn more about the world around them and teaching them to try new things. “I have always loved learning and I felt that teaching was a way for me to encourage others to do so as well,” said Mackenzie-Pearce. She also said that she enjoyed allowing her students to experiment in class and learn from their mistakes.

Mackenzie-Pearce began teaching at Riverside for the Math and Science Department in 2000. She has taught many students over the years and she hopes that they have acquired new skills from her classes. “I hope that my students have gained important knowledge that they can use post-secondary,” said Mackenzie-Pearce. She also co-taught the grade 11 Science Co-op program with Ms. Heidy Tilsner for two years.

Mackenzie-Pearce on vacation in Hawaii during her retirement

Her greatest accomplishment has been helping Riverside become fully digital; she was one of the first teachers to run the test class of students working with laptops. “The first year, the students worked with iPads and then the following year our class worked with Samsung notes,” said Mackenzie-Pearce. “Part of its success led to Riverside’s fully digital school today.”

Mackenzie-Pearce’s favourite memories at Riverside were exchanging positive words or sharing a laugh with staff and students. “It’s the simple things that meant a lot to me,” she said. “I will always remember these meaningful exchanges.”

During her retirement, Mackenzie-Pearce plans to travel and continue teaching as a Teacher-On-Call in the school district. A message that she would like to pass on to students to staff at Riverside is to be kind and help others. “It costs nothing and really fills your life with positive interactions,” said Mackenzie-Pearce.

Riverside wishes all the best to Mackenzie-Pearce during her retirement!